Describe George's and Lennie’s new living conditions in chapter two of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning of each chapter in Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men the author describes the setting. The first and last chapters are set in the peaceful area between the Gabilan Mountains and the Salinas River. The second and third chapters are set in the bunkhouse of the ranch where George and Lennie come to live while they "buck barley." Chapter four takes the reader to Crooks's room in the barn and chapter five is also set in the barn where Lennie is sitting with his dead puppy before Curley's wife comes in.

Chapter two takes place in the bunkhouse as the reader meets all of the important characters of the book. Steinbeck uses the entire first paragraph to describe the bunkhouse. The opening lines read:

The bunk house was a long, rectangular building. Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted. In three walls there were small, square windows, and in the fourth, a solid door with a wooden latch. 

It is a typical housing area for working men with beds, shelves, personal items, and a table for playing cards, a major pastime for the men when they are not working.

When George examines his new bed he becomes upset when he finds a can of bug repellent. Steinbeck writes:

George stepped over and threw his blankets down on the burlap sack of straw that was a mattress. He looked into his box shelf and then picked a small yellow can from it. “Say. What the hell’s this?”

Candy explains that the bunkhouse isn't "ticky," it's just that the worker who had the bunk before was very clean.  

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Of Mice and Men

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